Saturday, 31 July 2010

Anneliese bids farewell

It's time for Anneliese Taylor, our work experience student, to bid farewell to the keepers and Animals after spending three weeks on a work placement here at the park.
Always busy feeding up ducklings and chopping up fruit, Anneliese worked very hard along side our Animal Keepers and we will miss her very much!
Due to Anneliese's quiet nature we were all thrilled when she announced that she would like to have a go at giving the Wallaby presentation at 2.15pm. Despite the large crowd and the mob of Wallaby's close on her tail, Anneliese proved to be a natural!
So thanks again Anneliese, good luck with your further studies and hope to see you again!

Keeper for a day- Georgie Atkinson

Twelve year old Georgie Atkinson decided to come to the Park and help the Animal Care Team and experience what it's like to be behind the scenes working as an Animal Keeper.

Georgie is hoping to work with animals when she leaves school, so what better experience than to become A Keeper for a Day at Seaview Wildlife Encounter and really get stuck in!

Georgie worked along side Education Officer, Tara, where she had the chance to feed the Pelicans, Wallabies, Penguins AND Meerkats, just some of Georgie's highlights of the day.

And after all that hard work we ended the day with a gentle stroll with our woolly Alpacas!

Letters of the week

TO ALL THE STAFF (July 25th, 2010)

I just wanted to say what a brilliant place the Park is. We visited on Friday, at the end of a weeks holiday on the Isle Of Wight, and it was easily the best part of our holiday. Everything about the Park was perfect and we both loved the ability to get up close to the animals (especially feeding the wallabies - that was the highlight of our holiday).

All the staff were really helpful and informative - and didn't mind that we were acting like 2 big kids! We thought it was brilliant value and are looking forward to visiting again in the future. We have recommended to our family and friends as the day was just perfect.

A huge thanks to all of you,

Best Wishes,
Chrissie Monksfield, Lincoln.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Vet visit 28 July (re-sized) catching penguin chick

Vet visit 28 July 10 (re-sized) microchipping penguin chicks

Dr Ian Green had a scheduled visit to the Park at 8.00 this morning – with the primary task of micro-chipping this year’s Penguin chicks (this is mandatory in terms of zoo regulations). All nine chicks were successfully caught (thanks especially to Head keeper, Craig who has a real knack!) The most challenging capture was the parent-reared chick (the other 8 chicks have been Keeper-reared and are therefore less skittish). The image, above left, shows an action shot of the ‘wild child chick’ being rounded up and captured ready to be micro-chipped! Thankfully, all went off smoothly – the image above right shows the micro-chipping in progress!

Vet visit 28 July 10 (re-sized) microchipping penguin chicks 2

A close up shot of Dr Ian Green micro-chipping one of the Penguin chicks this morning

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Harvest Mice in new hide-away

Two in frayed rope (cropped)

I captured this endearing image of two of our juvenile Harvest Mice earlier today – they have taken the ends of a frayed rope within their enclosure and creatively built themselves a snug hide-away (or perhaps a luxury hammock!)

In the wild these tiny Mice usually inhabit dry reed beds, hedgerows, bramble bushes, hay meadows and some crop fields. They are very active, agile little animals, using their prehensile tail to grasp grass stalks. By winding their tail around a stalk they can quickly climb up tall stems to find the seeds at the top. They feed mainly on seeds, buds, berries, fruit, bulbs, and new grass shoots, but a small proportion of their diet is made up of insects, particularly in the summer, as well as roots, moss and fungi. They hide some of their food underground ready for the less abundant winter months.

Here at the Park we take pride in providing our resident Harvest Mice with a varied diet – incorporating as much of their natural grains, seeds, berries and fruit as possible. We regularly place wild flowers inside their enclosure – not only to provide a varied food source but also as enrichment. The flowers, leaves and stalks (including the inevitable accompanying insect) seem to be a real feast for their senses – it’s very rewarding to watch as the little Mice examine their new foliage with obvious excitement – the very moment it arrives!


Max spent the day with us on Sunday – as Keeper-for-a-day! These images show our Head Keeper, Craig (left), Max (centre) and Animal Keeper, Holly Cluitt (right) enjoying some time at the Penguin Pool.

Max, Craig & Holly at Penguin pool

Max ‘shadowed’ Craig and Holly and said he Max at the Penguin poolreally enjoyed spending time with all the birds and animals and seeing how things work behind the scenes.

If you’d like to know more about becoming a Keeper-for-a-Day please see our website for details.


Hatchling Kook (cropped) July 10 Hatching (cropped) July 10






Monday, 26 July 2010

My first attempt at a short video Blog!

The Catering Team at Seaview Wildlife Encounter are All Ears!

Our Catering Team are a really hard-working bunch! I'm probably guilty of not mentioning their great efforts often enough .... Now, then, what's this ear I hear you ask? The image above captures some of the Catering Team members having a mad moment in the cafe/restaurant last week. Sally, the Park's Gift Shop Manager gave everyone an earful; Hannah then asked one of our customers to assist by recording the event with her camera, and this image is the result!

Pictured from left: Sally Sheridan, Tracy Manning, Robyn Winson, Kym Toms, Rachael Millward, Kris Cope, Hannah Windley, Liam Thistlewood, Rebecca Phillips.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Another Fab' Letter of the Week!

Hi Guys,

Just a quick note to say how FABULOUS your Park is. We had a lovely day out earlier this month. Everything was brilliant, informative, animal interaction, relaxing, beautiful, the Keepers friendly, the cafe staff were cheery, and great ice-creams!

Bad thing: We had to leave at the end of the day!

Keep up the good work - it was a privilege to visit you.

Best Wishes and all the best for the future.

Martin & Zoe, Torfaen.

Quotes of the week from our Visitors Book

" Fantastic, well kept, clean, pretty, interesting animals, lovely fountains, plants etc.. Clean toilets, excellent coffee. We are very impressed!

Staff also very helpful and enthusiastic. Excellent value. Much better than expected. Thank you"

The Love Family, Leicestershire

" I am visiting today on the recommendation of a neighbour in Worcester who came last year. The Park is 'FANTASTIC'

The education side is excellent and the animals and birds are all in excellent condition. I wish you well for the future".
Mary Hyde, Worcester.

" I work at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Southsea and love all the animals you have here. Very clean, tidy and well managed. Staff are also extremely friendly.

Lovely to be back here for yet another trip - I am a very big fan!"

C. Williams, Southsea, Hants.

" 10 out of 10 lovely day out - loved all the animals and water features. Will be back". Mr. & Mrs. Samphier, Portsmouth.

" We had a wonderful time. Alex especially liked the ducks who waddled around his pram wheels - all quacking at once! We shall definately come back for another visit". Pete, Tammy & Alex, Oxford.

" Amazing. Jon has had a great day feeding ducks and Ali got to feed the wallabies & penguins! Out of this world.

Thank you have already told everyone about it and not even left yet!"
Jon & Ali, Wiltshire.

Letters of the Week at Seaview Wildlife

Hi, My wife and I had 10 days holiday based in Ryde Castle Hotel earlier this month. We walked to your Park one day and were really impressed - so much so that we returned for a longer visit a couple of days later. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were very impressed with the facilities and the lay out of the Park.

The views - the birds and animals - the organisation - everything was first class and gave us a memorable day. Many highlights to remember (and photographs) but the one to treasure will be the smile on the face of a severely disabled man as he stroked a Wallaby. Unforgettable.

We will be back and have recommended the Park to the staff at the hotel and our friends - a perfect day out.

Thank you.
Robert & Effie Chaffey,

Thursday, 22 July 2010

"Keeper-for-a-Day" - Aidan Pierce

Aidan Pierce had the treat of being 'A Keeper for a Day' today. Aidan, aged 12, attends Lake Middle School on the Isle of Wight. He's planning to become a Zoologist when he's older.

Tara Hayter, Education Officer at the Park, spent most of the day with Aidan and said he had been a great help and really enthusiastic about being part of the Animal Care Team for the day.

When I asked Aidan what he'd experienced he reeled off (with a grin on his face) a list of scratches, nibbles and nudges he was proud to have accumulated from various Park residents! He said he'd had a great day and that the experience had made him even more enthusiastic about pursuing a career involved with animals.

Two baby rabbits now out in public view!

The two 'unplanned baby bunnies' from our Pet's Corner, born approximately two weeks ago, have just started venturing out of their hutch - much to the joy of our visitors! Our vet, Dr Ian Green, is scheduled to visit next week and we'll be sure to have him verify males from females. As much as these two are a delightful surprise we're likely to be overrun unless we implement corrective snipping plans soon!

Hover Travel visit Seaview Wildlife

We were very pleased to welcome Loretta Lale and Kelly Browning from Hover Travel to the Park yesterday. We had an extremely positive meeting, including a productive brainstorming session together! There were some really exciting ideas on promotions-in-partnership that we're looking forward to crystallising in due course, so watch this space ........!!!
The image above shows Loretta (left) and Kelly next to our Alpaca enclosure - just a few moments after we'd had some hands-on encounters with Olly and Basil the goats who rather took a fancy to having these two ladies up-close-and-personal with them!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Colin the Kookaburra makes friends with Anneliese Taylor

Colin, our hand-reared Kookaburra, showing off his adult plumage - including newly-grown tail feathers. He's now outdoors on a full-time basis in his own enclosure, still as chatty as ever, and confidently flying from branches - often on to the Keepers' hands - especially if he senses a meal might be on its way!

Anneliese (pictured below with Colin) has just completed her first year of a National Diploma in Animal Management at Oaklands College, St. Albans, Hertfordshire and has chosen to do her 'work experience' here at Seaview Wildlife Encounter. Anneliese lives in Watford, Herts - but for these few weeks, whilst working at the Park, she's staying with friends on the Island.

Although she enjoys working with all the animals and birds at the Park, Anneliese has particularly enjoyed feeding the Penguin chicks and helping with the Wallaby presentation feed. She is hoping to work in a Wildlife Park or Zoo once she has qualified.

Anneliese has fitted in really well with our Animal Care Team and has been keen and quick in learning the practical side of animal care and husbandry. We're going to miss her when she's not here! We all wish Anneliese everything of the best in her future studies - and look forward to our paths crossing again in the future.

A quote from Anneliese: " This has been an amazing experience - working here with the variety of birds and animals. All the staff have made me feel welcome. I've enjoyed meeting the public as well. If I could ever work here again I would love to."

Friday, 16 July 2010

Quotes of the Week from Visitors Book

" Fabulous. Thank you" M. Kurowski, London

"FAN DABBY DOZY!!" E. McGuiness, Scotland

" FIVE STAR DAY OUT. Excellent value for money. Exceptionally well kept. Well done to you all".
P. Hobbins and family, Solihull, West Midlands.

" Delightful day - friendly staff. Beautiful setting. Love the close contact with the animals. Not too commeralised" Anne & Steven Smith, Hemel Hempstead

" An amazing experience for me and my friends. A strong memory to last forever" Gillingham, Kent

" Beautiful wonderland - thanks for sharing it with us" Piggott Family, West Sussex.

" One of the best parks of any sort that we have seen. Very well laid out with some excellent wildlife. Well done!" Jeanne & John, Oakside.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

They just keep coming and coming.... another fantastic Letter of the Week

Dear Sir/Madam,

I felt I had to write to let you know that myself and my family spent the day at your Park yesterday (13th July, 2010) and we thoroughly enjoyed our day.

It was very clean, the staff were very helpful & pleasant and all the animals and birds etc... appeared happy and contented.

We particularly enjoyed the Tropical House and all the other water features and my Grandson loved meeting the bugs and reptiles and the Wallabies - it was lovely to see them in natural surroundings.

All the children loved feeding the animals - you could see the joy on their faces.

We thought the covered picnic area was very good - whatever the weather we could eat in comfort and watch the water displays and all the birds and ducks enjoying the water also.

We had a lovely relaxing day and thought the 'hands-on' events were very good for the adults as well as the children.

It is certainly the best Wildlife Park we have been to and hope you win more Awards this year.

With many thanks and good wishes for your future,

Yours sincerely,

A.P. Cogzell (Mrs.)


It's almost summer holiday time - great weather for a day out - and time to link up with family and friends. Get nose-to-nose with nature at Seaview Wildlife Encounter - open 7 days a week until the end of October.

Are you a friend of Dippy's on Facebook yet? Dippy now has friends all over the Isle of Wight - and all over the world! All you need to do is enter 'Dippy Seaview' and you'll go into the wonderful world of a real, live Penguin!

Why not meet Dippy face-to-face? His home (when he's not out and about!) is at the Penguin Pool at Seaview Wildlife with all his Penguin clan. You can help feed Dippy and his friends at 11.30am and 3.30pm every day - its' great fun, no matter how old or young you are!

There are some exciting new arrivals and happenings going on this summer at Seaview Wildlife. There are the Amazing Alpacas who recently had their annual shearing - and are looking slim-lined and extremely handsome.

Then there's the tiniest, cutest little Harvest Mice who only arrived at the park in May and have already had their first litter of babies - they're out and about and ready for you to see!

Not forgetting the tropical Leaf-Cutting Ants that can be seen marching along a stretch of rope carrying huge pieces of leaves towards their nest.

Perhaps you're looking for a special present or gift idea? Or want to help look after your favourite animal? Why not adopt an animal? The perfect gift for any animal lover! Have a look on the Seaview Wildlife Encounter Website for full details -

Or how about experiencing something completely different during the summer holidays? The ultimate treat for any animal lover is to 'Be a Keeper for a Day'. This is the gift of a lifetime - for anyone aged 12+ who would like to go behind the scenes assisting an experienced Keeper in looking after Penguins, Meerkats, Alpacas, Wallabies and many other birds and animals! Take a closer look at the Seaview Wildlife Website for full details and to book your special day!

Follow the daily happenings with the animals, birds and Keepers at the Park by logging on to

Wishing you all a fantastic Summer Holiday with lots of sunshine and fun!

From all the Team at Seaview Wildlife (and... Dippy the Penguin!)

Ooooops .....who was it who said all our rabbits were males??

Imagine the look on the Keepers' faces on discovering this little nest full of baby bunnies .... when we'd thought all our resident rabbits were boys ..... ! As unexpected as they are, they're undeniably cute! Seems we may need to have to take a much closer look at the two young 'male' rabbits that came to live with us at the Park earlier this year!!

Sharing this very special 'Letter of the Week ' with you!

"Just a note to say thank you. Last Saturday 10th July my partner and I had our second visit to Seaview Wildlife Encounter after having a lovely time there in 2008. Yet again we were delighted by the wonderful variety of well-looked after animals and the courteous, helpful and knowledgeable staff (including the people working in the shop and cafe!).

Congratulations on the obvious hard work that you've made to build on and improve an already excellent attraction. The "new arrivals" (otters, harvest mice, alpacas) were a pleasure to see and yet again the "hands on" attractions including the opportunity to help feed those adorable and inquisitive wallabies proved irresistible. A brilliant, fun and educational day out in a beautiful setting that I'd happily recommend to anyone visiting the Island.

I've attached some of my pictures from the day. Thanks again!"

Hazel Humphreys

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

California King Snake's first 'slough'

Our California King Snake earlier today just moments after sloughing (shedding) his skin (the transparent skin can be seen clearly at the bottom of this image).

We had planned to move the King snake today to his new vivarium where he'll be on view to the public; however, as he was in the midst of shedding his skin we decided to postpone his relocation for a couple of days (the sloughing process can make snakes quite tetchy!)

All reptiles shed their skins (the technical term is ecdysis) - however the precise manner varies from species to species. Snakes usually shed in one piece, including eye caps, as opposed to lizards who look as though they're recovering from a bad case of sunburn! In general snakes slough once a month but the frequency depends on factors such as species, age, nutritional and reproductive status, the presence of skin parasites or bacteria, ambient temperature and humidity levels. Regular shedding is a necessary part of the growth process in snakes.

Dippy and the colony of Humboldts in midst of annual moult

Dippy, our now infamous Head Honcho Humboldt Penguin (above), is looking rather threadbare at the moment - he and the rest of the colony are going through their annual moult. The images above show the 'tatty look' of this 'catastrophic moult' - the Penguins lose all their feathers and re-grow them again over a period of a few weeks in the middle of summer. In mid summer Anchovies, the Penguins' main prey (in Peru), are at their most abundant.

Humboldt Penguins perform their annual moult at the end of the breeding season each year. In the wild (off the West Coast of Chile and Peru) the visible part of the moult process occurs when the birds remain on land and usually takes about two weeks. During this time they eat very little and lose about 30% of their body weight. In captivity they eat less than usual but the drop in weight is less extreme. In the wild the moult is followed by a 2-3 week period at sea where the Penguins regain condition before returning to the colony in preparation for breeding.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Fabulous Weekend Quotes from our Visitors Book at Seaview Wildlife Isle Of Wight

" Lovely place. There are no faults. Staff friendly and helpful". Dawn Ellis, Gosport

" Really enjoyable day - great value for money. Gave me some amazing experiences that won't be forgotten. Brilliant!" Kirsty Bishop, Gloucester

" We have visited the IOW three times and this is the one place we have returned to on ALL three visits. Best animal experience on the Island - made all the better by friendly, helpful staff". Cox Family, Warwick

" We have had a great time today (July 11th, 2010). We have visited a number of times and it is still a good day out". April, Hastings

" What a lovely day we have had here. Somewhere different whilst on holiday". Mrs. E. Vincent & Mr. J. Kolikowski, Birmingham

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Quotes of the Week

" Wonderfully well kept centre. Great variety. So good to see. Enjoyed it very much" Sylvia Wood Stafford, Staffs

" Really impressive! Stroked a penguin a first time experience. Loved the Alpacas and thought all the animals were brilliant". Katie & Holly Beckwith, Hertfordshire.

" Gets better every visit! Somewhere people from the Island can come back to over and over". Andy, Helen, Isobel & Leo - Just around the corner!

" Back again for another lovely day. See you next year. A wonderful and magical experience hope to come again" John & Imelda, Oxford

" Having a wonderful time. Whole experience is awe inspiring". Jen & Mark, Essex.

" Magnificent - Beautifully cared for. A credit to you all". C. King, Wirral.

" Since we have been here today everything has been fantastic and the animals are in great condition. We will be very happy to come again soon." Anthony & Barbie, Herefordshire.

" Loved the Wallabies and the baby animals. Lovely day. AWESOME!" Calum Donoghue, Southsea.

California King Snake arrives at Seaview Wildlife!

Image shows our new California King Snake

Jake Cousin works full-time as an Animal Keeper/Presenter at Seaview Wildlife Encounter; however, on one of his two days off each week Jake volunteers at the RSPCA on the Island where he's involved with various projects including the rescue of both wild and domesticated animals. Recently the IOW RSPCA rescued a California King Snake - possibly lost or released by a hobbyist. These snakes are not native to the UK and therefore cannot be allowed to breed in the wild. Fortunately, we had just recently decided to increase our reptile collection at Seaview Wildlife Encounter - so when we heard about the newcomer we requested 'first option' on him!

Image shows Jake Cousins introducing our new California King Snake to 'his' temporary abode until his new vivarium in the Reptile Display area is ready for his relocation.

In the wild, the California King Snake is found in most of California and Arizona. It is a non-poisonous snake that loops around, constricts and squeezes its prey until it suffocates. That sounds quite threatening (and it is if you're an unsuspecting rodent, small reptile, bird or amphibian!), but they are non-venomous and make popular pets amongst human hobbyists! As adults these snakes average three to four and a half feet in length (1 - 1.4 metres), but can sometimes grow to five feet or more. Their girth measurement grows to about 5 inches in diameter.

Swallows nesting at the Park

Barn Swallows normally use man-made structures (the eaves of barns, sheds and houses) to breed. They build a cup-shaped nest from mud pellets and feed on insects caught in flight. This species lives in close association with humans, and their insect-eating habits mean that they are tolerated by people.

Many modern house designs no longer have 'eaves' - so the preferred nesting habitat of swallows is unfortunately being compromised - there are fewer and fewer places for these beautiful, shy birds to build their nests. Next time you're planning a new shed or outbuilding (or know anyone who is) spare a thought in the design to consider potential nesting sites for swallows - or perhaps consider offering a man-made nest option - available through certain retail outlets and through specialist suppliers on the internet.

Here at Seaview Wildlife Encounter we purposefully encourage Swallows each year by allowing them access to some of our workshops and outbuildings on the property. We have Swallows returning from their over-wintering in Southern Africa to the same nesting sites each Spring - where they build their mud nests and hatch their young on ledges and wooden eaves inside our outbuildings year after year.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A new litter of Harvest Mice!

Imagine going in to the Harvest Mouse Exhibit to discover an unknown litter of tiny babies that we didn't previously know about ......! That's exactly what happened yesterday when two of the Animal Care Team took on the task of moving the parent Harvest Mice to a new enclosure (to avoid in-breeding). The unexpected arrival of the adorable new babies was celebrated by capturing this image this morning!
We recently spoke with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust regarding the possibility of a release programme - using our 'Harvies' for the project. This would obviously need to be properly assessed by mammal experts and then correctly managed. We're looking forward to receiving further news about our re-introduction suggestion and hope to keep you posted once there's any further news!

Education and School Visits are a priority at Seaview Wildlife!

Education is a pivotal part of our work here at the Park. We are constantly reviewing and updating our educational programme to ensure we are setting the pace and offering schools and students of all ages an exciting, fun, ever-changing interaction with nature. In addition to our nine daily keeper-lead Wildlife Presentations the Park encourages youngsters to be hands-on and up-close to birds and animals - bringing the theory to life!

This image, taken earlier today, shows the Penguin Pool at Seaview Wildlife Encounter - with a few of the Humboldt Penguins just after feeding time. We had three schools visiting today which no doubt pleased the Penguins - extra fish being thrown to them by all the eager youngsters! The weather has been great - sunny and warm but not roastingly hot (if there's such a word??) so it's perfect conditions for spending time in our beautiful Park!